In the previous two posts we briefly learned about the expansions in translation and translation business in the last millennium. Now we shall enlighten ourselves with the latest and the striking new characteristics in the history of translation today.
Before wireless internet came into existence there were barriers to enter the translating profession. Both translators and translation agencies had to overcome these barriers to be able to compete and produce quality translations. Translators now had to have industry-specific experience, for instance someone translating a patent needs to have relevant information regarding patent terms such as “claims” and “prior art”.
To a certain extent, we can exclaim that these barriers to entrance helped keep them unskilled or those who lacked skills out of the translation business hence maintaining quality.
Now translation agencies had grown keen to know and learn about the languages the catered in, they had to make a reasonable investment into infra-structure and logistics of the business. Before the internet became as accessible as air, it was also necessary for entrepreneurs to have a know-how about how to start-up and run a business in order to run a translation agency.
Although in the internet-age, the barriers to enter a translation business for both translators and translation agency has basically disappeared. Hypothetically, anybody can translate now with little or no knowledge about the foreign language with the kind of automation provided. But the ability to be able to translate does not conclude that you will be able to produce technically accurate rendition of the context. This is why it is necessary to choose a medium of translation which offers at least native-speakers, industry-specific experienced linguists and a project manager who can assure the technical aspects of content.
In the modern-times the main requirement to set up a business translating agency is to have access to internet. It is amazing how a smooth and well-maintained website can run a translation agency in the 21st century. It is inexpensive compared to old-times or at least the 20th century; saves office space rent, expensive stationary expense etc. All hail to internet, thousands of translators have made a sound career who only had a limited access to clients. Small Language service providers, grew into established translating agencies targeting new market capacities and also creating jobs for translators.
Compared to the 20th century where the only focus was to provide quality work, today the competition has increased. It is now as vital to compete in the industry on the basis of price, time take to deliver, incorporating latest technology to translate etc, as it is to deliver the best. The business model of translation agencies clearly shows and emphasis on providing a linguist on the basis of education, experience and other qualification of a human translator. Earlier, if there was an error in the translation prepared the entire blame was on the translator, whereas now a new level hierarchy has been introduced for project managers who play the middle man between client and translator ensuring quality check of the content reproduced. Everything is more formal now, with a record keeping system since each interaction is made through e-mail.
In the last century, client had to wait quite some time for lengthy content; with the combination of human and machine translation the turnabout has reduced to an unimaginable extent. Millions of words are translated in a few weeks, owing to technology like API. Another factor which supports the efficiency of modern times’ translation service is the “round the clock service”. Agencies have hired translations in all parts of the world, who work in different time zones hence a translator is available to provide service 24/7. Internet has made bulk translation possible, although to maintain quality delivery it is essential to take sufficient amount of time for dissemination.
Read also: Translation Evolution – Middle Ages
It is amazing how new standards of translations were announced for quality assurance. Translation agencies also have to ascertain quality to maintain standards and legal legislation of translation to remain an authorized translation agency. Translation regulatory authorities and translation agencies go hand in hand to ensure quality remains the paramount of business. Clients have become sharper and well aware now, you cannot sell them whatever material you translated. The know consumer rights and serious ways of suing companies since translating is a serious business and a single technical error can cause major losses; for instance a translating error in the label of a medicine can cost a pharmaceutical company their license.
Where technology has made it easy for translation agencies to translate, it has also become a much more serious business than it previously was. Barriers to entry might have reduced to an extent but the business comes with huge responsibility and is not everyone’s cup of tea.